Review by Emilia Rowley
This was not so much a local gig, rather a gig that highlighted some of the secret gems that actually happen to play locally. Arriving to a slightly empty Sugarmill, appeared a young man in ever-so-fetching tweed trousers and a hand-sling. Yes, for this acoustic wonder he couldn’t actually play his own guitar; however much to the enjoyment of the audience, he launched into an acapella solo, merely using his voice to control the beat and the room. Jack Martello began singing something he wrote that very day on a napkin, and recalling a lyric sings ‘like a 15 year old girl’. He doesn’t of course; he sounds beautifully soulful, and accompanied by a friend playing his acoustic guitar, we are reminded of James Morrison and singer/songwriters within that thread. Just 3 songs into the setlist and he has the audience captivated, encouraging them to sing along even though the song is undoubtedly unfamiliar. It is quite refreshing to see this young Kentish gentleman with just his voice and a guitar, especially when he thrusts at the young girls in the audience; what a dreamboat.
The only local band on this bill is my old favourites Dinosaur Dancefloor. As they are currently on hiatus, this gig was a stopgap in recording their new EP. Unfortunately, there were no new songs to tease the audience with, although we were not disappointed by their performance. Dinosaur Dancefloor always sound so together; and they currently sound tighter than ever before. There is so much fun had on stage that their in-jokes and funny quips make the audience smile, even when there’s no idea what is going on. My standout track (not that I haven’t heard them before) is ‘Funny Honey’; uniform harmonies, all members basically playing in a line, and again so in-tune with each other. It’s reminiscent of a 50s musical chorus line and is just so damn catchy. As mentioned previously, DD are working on their latest release; constantly recording and aiming for an EP launch gig around late Spring/early Summer. That’s a small exclusive for you right there.
We Were Evergreen aren’t even British. Hailing from ‘gay Paree’ are 3 of the most beautiful French people ever seen. A xylophonist, a bassist/beat boxer, and a ukulele/acoustic guitar player appear on stage and I’m already interested. The bassist lays down a looped beat over the jingle-jangle of the xylophone, in come electronic drums and an indie-techno dance beat, and tender ‘ooos’ and ‘aaahs’ within lyrics reveal the completed sound. Playing with sounds and making it work is what We Were Evergreen do best; their catchy high-pitched songs of joy could well be this summer’s international success story. Think Two Door Cinema Club but with the Eiffel Tower in the background. The vocal breaks within songs, just perfect harmonies to no music, display the lone female’s beautifully rasping voice. This is enhanced by the remaining members, music, and of course the accent of the language of love. J’adore We Were Evergreen.
With cravats and stand-up collars ago-go, on walk King Charles’ backing group – a bassist that looks like Kenneth Branagh but slicker, and coordinating backing singers in monochrome outfits. King Charles alone has more hair than any man, of which I am quite jealous. He is mesmerising, and of course the main event. Having toured with Mumford and Sons, I can see why King Charles could be the ‘next big thing’. Rolling folk rock that is on the louder and happier side of Mumford and Sons; songs about love of course and finding his queen, accompanying harmonies and backing singers that have dance moves! ‘Bam Bam’ is my favourite track; you only need it hear it once and you’ll also be singing ‘she said she will never be my queen’. Not so much king-like, but definitely folk-rock royalty, King Charles (and accompaniment) is most certainly one to watch this year.